Saturday, September 11, 2021

Lions in Africa: Beautiful big cats caught in action with the Canon R5 camera

We are winding up our month long stay in Africa, with visits to Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabwe and short stints in South Africa. We have seen so much during this time, including many sitings of lions. When we are on safari in Africa, we are always excited to come across these big cats. I wanted to share more images of these amazing animals from the plains of Tanzania, Kenya and Botswana. 

Quite often, we come across lions and they are doing what cats do most of the time, they are laying down sleeping. In this case, we are lucky to get a shot of them with their eyes open.


Other times, the big cats are laying underneath bushes and we can barely see them. I call this a "NASBIC" moment. NASBIC stands for "Not a shot, but it is cool". This is a good time to see the animals with our eyes, but not worth shooting images. The photo above was a rare time when this group of lions were out in the open, but this time they were on the road and actually blocking the bridge that we needed to cross. We waited for them to move on before crossing.


What we really want to see is the lions out in the open, in the low grass and with great sunlight on them. We saw this lioness as she got up to move and was looking right into the morning sunlight. We were photographing a couple of females and two males on a zebra kill. I will spare you the really graphic images of the kill (although they are pretty cool).


I waited for the same female to move in front of the kill and took this shot. It gives you a hint of the kill, but since the lioness is perfectly in focus and the kill is soft in the background, it tells a story with a little less of the gruesome impact.


This big male was eating for a long time, and then gave us this great look. I have mentioned this on previous blogs, but it is worth repeating that the lion is not being aggressive here, it is just yawning, but it makes for great photos.


This lioness was stalking in the tall grass when we found her. I got down low in the vehicle to try to get right into her eyes. We had cloud cover at the time which gave us non-directional light. I have been using two of the Canon R5 cameras and a combination of the Canon RF100-500mm lens and the older Canon 100-400mm lens. I also have the Canon RF24-105mm lens for wider shots. The eye tracking of the new Canon mirrorless cameras has been a total game changer this time around! I think 75% of the people on our photo tour are buying new cameras after borrowing the R5 cameras from Canon. 


This lioness looked directly at us and yawned. Another perfect photo opportunity.


We love capturing the interaction between the lions.


This large male was out for a stroll one morning, looked right into the morning light and posed for us.


It is not uncommon to see lions having sex in the wild. When there is a mating pair, they can repeat this every 5 minutes for hours. This can last for up to a week, and they do not eat when they are in this mode.


That same male, when finished with his business, gave us this.  So powerful!


This was another mating session captured in the camera. 


We all laughed at the end of the mating when the male lion went to lie down and then did this.


There is nothing I love more than photographing the young wildlife here in Africa. We have seen countless young elephant, cheetah, leopard, lions cubs and more. They are just too cute. It is hard to believe that these cute little cuddly cats grow up to be so dangerous.


We were along the Chobe River in Botswana when we saw this female lion head down to the rivers edge to catch a drink. She looked up for a brief moment (into the late afternoon sun) before heading off to meet with the rest of the pride.


This is the same lioness sparring with a male. I laughed when I saw the surprised look on the male's face.

It was the end of a long day in Botswana, and we had spent a long time with the same pride of lion. We were hoping to see the cubs come down to drink, but they never made an appearance. This one lioness did drink, so we got that shot in the last minutes of sunlight before heading back to the lodge. I have been making a conscious effort to shoot wider images this time around, showing more of the environment that they live in. I tend to photograph the animals really close up, which is awesome but sometimes fails to tell the whole story,

I have many more images to share with you. More to come...


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1 comment:

OnlyInCA said...

Love that last shot, Jeff. I'm really guilty of that too---too many tight close-ups that don't tell the whole story. Thanks for reminding me and showing me how nice those wider angle shots are. I've loved your Africa series. We head there in 2 wks for a month and I can't wait.
Catherine